Spokane Interim Fire Chief says Oakland warehouse fire was 'comp - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Spokane Interim Fire Chief says Oakland warehouse fire was 'completely predictable'

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SPOKANE, Wash. -

A building with no sprinklers, no smoke alarms, and no permits for residential living became a death trap for those trying to escape the blinding smoke and billowing flames Friday.

The grim search for victims is far from over as firefighters continue to sift through the ashes of a charred shell of a converted warehouse in Oakland.

“This was a completely predictable event,” said Spokane Interim Fire Chief, Brian Schaeffer. “And it's incredibly unfortunate that we have firefighters in that building right now looking for body parts.”

Schaeffer says his heart goes out to those who lost loved ones to the blaze, and the Oakland firefighters who remain on scene.

“We're tired of removing pieces of human bodies out of residences or apartment buildings after they've succumbed to the effect of a structure fire,” said Schaeffer, who says this is a wake up call he wants everyone to hear.

“If you look around, some of our most dangerous building from a fire stand point are unprotected without fire sprinklers,” he said.

One example Schaeffer points out is the Rosewood Club Apartments -- The scene of a late summer blaze that took the lives of two and sent a young firefighter to the hospital.

The north Spokane building didn't have sprinklers because it wasn't required due to an old law. That’s something Schaeffer says is unacceptable.

“Why not put a fire sprinkler in that building and save a life?”

Schaeffer is calling on tighter regulations and hopes the next time a fire like the one in Oakland happens, it’s not in Spokane.

“It may not be today, it may not be tomorrow, it may not be next year, but at some point you're going to have everything line up to be a disaster,” said Schaeffer. “And I don't want to live in a community like that. We can do better, we can do better.”

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